— Kevin Sutherland is a golfer first and a golf fan second, so even before he began Friday's second round of the Travelers Championship, he had an eye on Justin Rose's morning performance.
He had no idea whether he'd be able to match Rose's round, which left him atop the leaderboard at 14-under-par, or how the course played, or how anyone else teeing off in the afternoon would finish the day.
But the first round, and 14 previous years of experience at TPC River Highlands, gave the 45-year-old Sutherland an idea of what to expect. By the time he walked off the ninth green a foot-and-a-half shy of an eagle on the par 4, Sutherland had shot a bogey-free 65 for the second day and found himself in sole possession of second place — four strokes behind Rose and in today's final pairing.
"I feel like I've been really patient this week, and obviously, it's easy to be patient when you haven't made a bogey and you've had 10 birdies," Sutherland said. "Patience is a bit overrated. I haven't had to deal with much in the way of adversity yet. I just feel good about where I'm at."
Exactly where Sutherland is remains to be seen. A 15-year member of the PGA Tour, Sutherland only recently found success, finishing with more than $2.5 million in earnings in 2008 — a year in which he finished in the top-10 six times and was twice a runner-up.
The rest of his career has been fairly ordinary. Typically in the middle ranks of the tour's money list, Sutherland's only win was the 2002 WGC Match Play Championships — a different beast altogether, given the rules — and took nearly three months to once again reach the top-10 in 2009.
"I think it bothers me less now than it did maybe a few years ago," Sutherland said. "I just kind of keep playing and not worry so much about trying to change what I've done in the past."
That wouldn't help this weekend. Sutherland has played the Travelers every year on tour and fared well, with ties for ninth in 1996, 2000 and 2004With the exception of last season and his two cuts, he has been in the top-30 each year.
A win nearly two-thirds of the way through the 2010 PGA Tour schedule could be too late to salvage a season that began with three consecutive top-20s and had little after, but it could be a nice boost.
"I got off to a nice start, but it hasn't really translated into the rest of the year," Sutherland said. "I'm hoping that this week I've played very well, and I'm hoping this will start up maybe a good summer."Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun